The Kurdistan Independence Referendum and Constitutional Self-Determination

Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held a non-binding independence referendum on 25 September 2017. Voters were asked: ‘Do you want the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdistani areas outside the region’s administration to become an independent state?’ Voting occurred in Kirkuk and the Kurdish-controlled parts of other territories in northern Iraq whose disputed status is recognized in the Iraqi constitution. In retrospect, Kurdish leaders seem to have overreached politically, as the Iraqi armed forces and allied militias have in recent days seized Kirkuk Governorate from Kurdish control. But was it legal overreach?

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Playing the Referendum Game in Northern Italy

Three weeks after Catalonia, two of Italy’s wealthiest regions are going to the polls over similar issues related to autonomy. On Sunday, the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto will vote on a one-question query on whether to demand greater autonomy from Rome. Despite their apparent simplicity, both questions are formulated in such a way as to be misleading. Few months before the national election, the referendum may be considered as a test for Northern League, or even a rehearsal in view of a political campaign based on the promise of a greater return on taxes.

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Catalan secessionism faces the European Union

Catalan secessionists have constructed a hypothetical place for an independent Catalonia within the EU on the basis of three explicit assumptions.1)See on this issue Carlos Closa (ed.) Secession from a Member State and Withdrawal from the European Union;Troubled Membership, Cambridge University Press 2017 They assume, firstly, that the EU will treat their demands sympathetically. This […]

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Sozusagen ein Referendum: Bericht aus Barcelona, Teil 2

Niemand kann mehr sagen, was das Recht ist in Katalonien. So ist das bei Revolutionen: Das alte Recht gilt nicht mehr, das neue noch nicht. Es gilt, was sich am Ende effektiv durchsetzt. Die spanische Regierung, da sind sich alle meine Gesprächspartner einig, hat mit den hässlichen Bildern von Polizeiknüppeln und Platzwunden gestern eine schwere Niederlage erlitten. Aber wer am Ende gewinnt, ist damit noch längst nicht raus.

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Die unmögliche Revolution: Bericht aus Barcelona, Teil 1

Dies ist keine Stadt in Aufruhr, ganz im Gegenteil. Niemand in den Menschenschlangen vor den Wahllokalen hat Angst. Von der Zukunft, wie das tatsächlich werden wird ohne Madrid und so ganz auf sich gestellt, davon ist kaum die Rede. Die EU-Mitgliedschaft, die rechtlichen und wirtschaftlichen Folgen, das wird dann schon werden. Es sind die gut Ausgebildeten, die sich einreihen in die Schlange, die Bessergestellten, die Alteingesessenen, die sich nicht zu fürchten brauchen (glauben). Sie freuen sich. Und vor allem: sie wollen wählen. Die Frage ist: mit welchem Recht? Und mit welchen Folgen?

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The Catalunya Conundrum, Part 1: How Could Things Come to Such a Pass?

In a three-piece series of blog posts, I will focus on three issues: the different attempts made in recent years by Catalan secessionists parties trying to find a lawful way to ask the population about the independence of Catalonia and Spanish legal system’s responses blocking them; how this gridlock has led to a constitutional crisis in Spain and what could be possible solutions; and finally why concerns about the Spanish authorities’ reaction may be well founded, thus creating a potential conflict at the European level.

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The Catalan Self-Determination Referendum Act: A New Legal Order in Europe

The Catalan Parliament is taking the secession process to the next level. By illegitimately passing two Acts that constitute a Catalan proto-constitution, a constitutional coup d’état and a new legal order are on their way.

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The EU and the Catalan Crisis

The events of the past week in Catalunya (and of the weeks that will follow) are very serious and worrying. Catalunya is a region of a Member State of the EU that has begun a unilateral process of independence, disregarding the Constitution, its Statute of Autonomy and the opposition of half of the Catalan population. It’s a remarkable challenge for Spanish democracy. It’s a challenge for the EU as well.

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One year after the Brexit Referendum: More, Fewer or No Referendums in Europe?

One year after Brexit, the issue of referendums seems to be everywhere: Their desirability cannot be described with a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’. There is simply more than one valid constitutional perspective in evaluating the case for or against referendums.

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Five Variables of a Catalan Referendum on Independence

On 9 June 2017 the President of the Catalan Government, Carles Puigdemont, announced a referendum on Catalan independence. The Catalan thrive for independence in the current political and legal situation is not easy to grasp. Five variables are essential to discuss the potential success of such a referendum.

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